Quickie Review: Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick

Format: Hardcover, ebook
Pub Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Putnam
Length: 320
FTC: Purchased myself

It's been years since Amanda Quick's books have wowed me. I admit, the Arcane psychical stuff just isn't my cup of tea, but she's had paranormal or mystical elements in her work for decades now. What makes her more recent stuff, and this book in particular, so weak is that she is rehashing old themes and burying her characters in setting and psychic trappings. There's nothing new here, and the classic stuff is tired.

Amanda Quick used to have wonderful characters, strong heroines and enigmatic heroes. Ravished is one of my favorite romances of all time. There was adventure, humor, passion. All of that seems to have gone away, and we're left with an anemic pairing of two people whose auras are attracted to each other, but who never really have a basis for falling in love. There's no chemistry. No heat at all. And their characters are so thinly drawn that I found myself not really caring about them.

Even the mystery was ho-hum and easily figured out. Something has gone wrong with Amanda Quick's writing, and I'm not sure why. Maybe Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick needs to slow down her writing schedule. Because this isn't just phoned in. It's the literary equivalent of a broken up cell phone call. Half of it is missing and what's left isn't worth worrying about.

If you're a die-hard fan and still want to read it, I highly suggest using the library. This isn't worth the hardcover price (or the high ebook price). I'll keep my fingers crossed that the author can put some emotion and depth into her next offering.

My Grade: F

The Blurb:

Evangeline Ames has rented a country cottage far from the London streets where she was recently attacked. Fascinated by the paranormal energy of nearby Crystal
Gardens, she finds pleasure in sneaking past the wall to explore the grounds. And when her life is threatened again, she instinctively goes to the gardens for safety.

Lucas Sebastian has never been one to ignore a lady in danger, even if she is trespassing on his property. Quickly disposing of her would-be assassin, he insists they keep the matter private. There are rumors enough already, about treasure buried under his garden, and occult botanical experiments performed by his uncle—who died of mysterious causes. With Evangeline’s skill for detection, and Lucas’s sense of the criminal mind, they soon discover that they have a common enemy. And as the energy emanating from Crystal Gardens intensifies, they realize that to survive they must unearth what has been buried for too long.


  1. Oh no! You are not the first person I've seen who was disappointed with this. Ravished is one of my all-time favs, too! I have found that the historical Arcane books are better than the contemporary books. For some reason, AQ's contemporaries don't have the same depth of character as the historicals. Not sure why. :^(

    1. I love Ravished! The humor that was in her books seems to have disappeared entirely. I'm not fan of her JAK contemporaries with the Arcane stuff, although I have a soft spot for her old CEO style contemps.

      The garden in this one is interesting, but the characters are just generic cardboard cutouts. So disappointing!